Book Review of Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

Posted November 12, 2012 by Kara in Uncategorized / 22 Comments

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: January 3rd, 2011
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Series: Insiders #2
Source: I own a copy.

Blurb from Goodreads: Me? A leader? Okay, I did prove that there’s more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion–between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we’re free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again–while still touching base with Riley, of course. He’s the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there’s outside and then there is Outside. 

And something from Outside wants In. 

Review:  I read Outside In sometime in 2011. I know it was before I started my blog, and it was one of the first reviews I wrote on Goodreads. Because of that, I don’t recommend you go read it (my writing is horrible), but I can tell you that I adored the book. I may not have been able to articulate my thoughts as well as I can now, but the feelings are still the same. I LOVED IT. It was one of my favorites and it just cemented my growing love for Maria V. Snyder’s writing. So it was with great trepidation that I picked up Outside In. I was just worried it wouldn’t be as good.

And unfortunately, it wasn’t. Perhaps the magic had worn off. Maybe I have just gotten pickier. Whatever the case may be, I was a little disappointed. It IS possible that my expectations were a little too high. At any rate, I did still really like it though. It just wasn’t that 5 star book that I was expecting it to be. And I don’t think that I am being unfair by having that expectation considering I loved the first book so much.

One of my main issues with Outside In was the plot. If this had been a standalone, this would probably have been a 5 star book. But because the first book was so damn suspenseful, I had the same hopes for this one. The story was fantastic–Trella has to organize and save the world from a new group trying to take over “Inside”–but it didn’t make quite the same impact on me that Inside Out did. Trella was pretty unlikable throughout the first hundred pages or so and I found myself being disgusted by some of her behavior. So when she finally got her shit together, I was already a little disillusioned with the book. It was a page turner though. And I loved seeing some of my favorite characters back to their old shenanigans. But it just didn’t feel the same.

Trella was an awesome, strong heroine once things got going and Riley, once again, is swoonworthy. All of the side characters are fun and really entertaining. I also really appreciated the new dynamic between Trella and Doctor Lamont. It was interesting and brought something completely new to the book’s dynamic. Maria V. Snyder writes really strong characters, and that continued into this book. I feel like they all had their own personalities, motivations, and lives within the universe of “Inside.”

Speaking of “Inside,” my favorite thing about both of these books is the world-building. It blew my mind in book one and I still found it to be almost as satisfying in book two. I say almost because book one just kept revealing layer after layer and in book two I felt like I knew everything and there weren’t as many secrets to be revealed. Perhaps that is why I was a little underwhelmed by Outside In even though it still is/was one of the more original series I have ever read.

You have to remember that these books hit the YA scene before the dystopia/post-apocalyptic fad hit. This is not an author who wrote this book to make a quick buck. These are truly original ideas. I remember seeing an interview on a blog somewhere where the author stated that when she started writing these books, she didn’t even intend for them to be dystopian but that it just worked out that way. I think when you read these books, it is easy to tell that this is true. The detail in the setting and the depth that goes into the world-building is just so immense and well-planned.

So even though I didn’t love this book as much as I loved Inside Out mainly because I was a little underwhelmed by the suspense and Trella’s actions, I still really enjoyed it and I highly recommend the duology, especially for those readers that love dystopian books but are getting a little tired of the repeated tropes and themes. While there are a few things in these books that you will find in the others, because this one came first, it doesn’t feel overused or overdone in the least. I do highly recommend them and Maria V. Snyder is always an author I will turn to for a good book. I know and trust her writing. And that’s a fantastic thing.

To purchase a copy of Outside In from Amazon.com, click here: Outside In (Harlequin Teen). The Kindle edition is only 7.19 at the time of this writing.

4/5 Dragons

22 responses to “Book Review of Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

  1. I hate when you reread a book and it’s not quite as good. There are some books I have avoided rereading specifically because of that fear. Just sometimes a book hits you right where you want it to.

    • I completely understand. A lot of times I am let down by sequels of books I love. It’s happened to me a lot this past year actually. Part of the reason, I think, is because I read the first book of this series so long ago. I think my tastes have changed. Thank you for your comment!

  2. I think you’re still pretty generous with the four. Like you, I read the first book many moons ago. I can’t even remember how I rated it. I do own the second book but couldn’t bring myself to read it. I think I’d have to re-read the first book just because it was that unmemorable that I’d be lost if I read the second.

    Great review, Kara!

    • Thanks, Joy. The first book wasn’t unmemorable for me at all. I actually really loved it and it’s a total favorite of mine. I guess maybe my expectations were too high. I gave the first book a 5 so I figured a 4 was about appropriate for the level of enjoyment I got from it. 🙂

  3. I’m happy to see that while this one didn’t necessarily live up to the first book, you still really enjoyed it. It’s tough with dystopia’s that are in a series. I agree, I always fall in love in the first book because the setting is revealed in layers and then in the second one you already know all of that so it just isn’t as exciting. Also great to hear that once the book gets going a bit Trella stopped wearing on your nerves so much. Great review Kara!

    • This past year I have been, for the most part, disliking a lot of series sequels. The only one I truly enjoyed was Rebel Heart. I still liked this one but it was a bit of a letdown. Thanks, Jenni!

  4. Amy

    I have been wanting to read the first one for a while. It’s good to know that the second one is really good too. It’s hard for second books to live up to the first one if you really loved it. I’m glad that this was still a fantastic follow-up. I have to read this series sometime. I love the sound of it!!

  5. Interesting! I liked this one better than the first, actually. Trella was a bit harder to connect with in book one and there was more action, because the first book was her crawling through the tunnels to hide from people for like 50% of it.

    Love Riley! SO MUCH LOVE.

    I’m reading Scent of Magic now, as you know since I already told you. I’m further in though, and I can see that I don’t like it as much as book one, but I think it’s more that I read book one at just the right time or something so I was all THIS SHIT IS THE BEST. It’s good and entertaining, but I’m not swooning all over the place. Sort of a solid 3.5 at the moment.

    • I think I liked the first book because there was so much action. It blew my mind. I still like Trella a lot though, she just ticked me off over some of her behavior.

      Good to know about Scent of Magic. I will be reading it soon. Hopefully next week. My expectations are not as high now that i have gotten some feedback from a couple of people.

  6. I loved this book too, Kara! I emailed the author after I had finished reading it to ask if there would be a 3rd book, but she said sales weren’t great so no at for the time being. 🙁

    Great review! ^^

    • Yup, that’s pretty much what I heard too. Disappointing isn’t it? I still think they left it off at a great ending point though just in case there isn’t another one. But I could always use more. Too bad she won’t self publish one.

  7. Well a decent sequel is better than a really crappy one, right?! I am yet to read anything by Maria but I’ve heard nothing but good things. I like the sound of both Tella and Riley and it’s awesome that the world building is so well done!

    • Absolutely! And you should really try her writing. I think you would enjoy it, Mandee. A few of her books are a bit disappointing, but they are all solid and enjoyable reads, I think.

      The world-building in this one is fabulous.

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